Private doctors ask for priority in flu vaccine supplies

PETALING JAYA: Flu vaccine suppliers have been urged to give priority to private doctors, with the Malaysian Medical Association lamenting that GPs get “leftovers” after hospitals have been supplied.

MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran said priority was normally given to public hospitals, followed by private hospitals, while the “leftovers” are supplied to the 7,000 doctors in general practice.

Ganabaskaran said GPs should be given priority as they were the first point of contact for patients and were close to the community.

He said many GPs had called to report the matter and have also taken to social media to voice their displeasure.

“MMA hopes the suppliers will play a proactive role whenever there is an increase of certain illnesses that can be prevented by primary care practitioners. The needs of patients must come first,” he said in a statement.

Yesterday, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said suppliers had been asked to replenish their stock urgently.

He said many private hospitals have begun to receive their supplies after having previously reporting a shortage.

About 90 schoolchildren in Johor and 53 in Penang are reported to have been infected with the seasonal influenza virus.

The health ministry has said that district health officials have been told to monitor schools with an influenza outbreak to stem the spread of the disease.